Dear Control Freak Mum



Dear Control Freak Mum,

So the summer holidays are in full swing and the bleary-eyed 6.30am wake ups, packed lunches and screams of “Brush your hair, brush your teeth, it’s not me who will have to walk in late in front of everyone!” are all but a distant memory.

Ah, the calm that must envelop the house these days.

Perhaps the crammed ‘craft cupboard’ that makes you want to scream every time you walk past it has come into its own. Yes, I can see it now; laughter and joy filling the air while your nine and seven year old girls sit making friendship bracelets as you tenderly check their handiwork.

Your five year old boy has finally found delight in the Toy Story paint set which has sat unused since his third birthday, and you’ve proudly displayed his perfect Woody and Mr Potato Head on the kitchen wall.

And how lovely having no school uniform to adhere to. I presume the girls appear in the morning having dressed themselves in those beautiful broderie anglaise dresses you bought them. The boy will no doubt be in a navy blue polo shirt and your favourite stripy shorts. Shall we pop a ribbon in the girls’ flowing, glossy locks? Oh, go on then.

As for the fun you must all be having outside in the glorious summer sun. I’m picturing a hula hoop, skipping ropes, perhaps even a golden Labrador puppy, playfully jumping up at the children while they giggle excitedly (not sure where you’ll get the pup from but still…).

I know you’ve imagined yourself in a long, white Victorian style dress and straw boater, sitting under a parasol, smiling at the children’s joyful play, perhaps with a jug of homemade lemonade waiting for them. But come on, that’s a step too far. That’s actually a Merchant Ivory film you’re now in, by the way.

Back to the present day then. This all sounds so idyllic, so what happened CFM? Where did it all go wrong?

I’ll tell you where. Yes, the craft cupboard got invaded, but the minute the friendship bracelet kit got yanked from the middle of the precarious pile of boxes and the entire craft cupboard contents spilled all over the floor, your blood pressure shot up.

Keep calm you told yourself, we can put it all back later, at least they’re finally off the iPads. But then the instructions for said friendship bracelets were so ridiculously complicated it took you five re-reads to work them out, and by then the screens were back on.

“Right I’ve mastered it!” you triumphantly exclaimed. “Get off those screens!”

But you couldn’t quite bring yourself to let the girls take over where you’d started off. The heart design bracelet was coming on so well, after all.

“I’ll just do a tiny bit more,” you said. “But you’ve nearly done the whole thing Mummy!” the seven year old proclaimed disappointedly.

“Ok ok. Now, are you sure you know what you’re doing?” you impatiently asked.

I hope you took a step away at this point and stopped breathing down your child’s neck. Let her do it herself. But oh no, oh no! She managed to get all the threads tangled and you snapped, “Well done, you’ve ruined that one then.” And she cried.

Bravo CFM. Great result.

As for the Toy Story work of art, well, you had to all but stop yourself yanking the paintbrush out of poor little five year old’s hand after you exasperatingly watched Woody turn into an unrecognisable brown blob.

Let’s move on to the children getting themselves dressed then. How did that go? After you asked them fifteen times (nine times as patiently as you could muster, six times as psycho screaming CFM) the children finally headed off upstairs. And congrats for letting them pick their own clothes. No need to lay out your desired outfits for them anymore – a BIG step in the right direction.

Oh, I see, you did lay the broderie anglaise dresses out just in case they fancied them. And so? Oh dear, they both appeared sporting the same garish sequinned t-shirts they always wear, one with fetching pink leggings and an orange puffball skirt, and the other in those awful denim shorts.

Now keep calm, breathe, your blood pressure is rising again. Remember it’s what they want to wear, not you. And what about the boy? Did he wear the navy blue polo shirt? Surely not the black Star Wars t-shirt (yet again) with Darth Vader looming towards you in a deathly vice grip?

So forget it, at least they got dressed. That’s the main thing. Time to head out to the great outdoors.

Did you manage to sit quietly on your own and watch them play in the summer sun? No, you didn’t, did you? You saw a slither of precious time that could be used to make your house look like a centre spread from The White Company catalogue. But it’s a futile gesture, as you know, because you try this everyday and only get frustrated. All your towels are manky and mismatched. Not a white, fluffy, Egyptian cotton one in sight.

You then spotted the abandoned friendship bracelet and couldn’t help yourself from detangling the tangled mess. Before you knew it, you’d finished it. You were even wondering whom you might give it to when the three little people stormed back inside, crying that somebody pushed somebody and nothing is fair. Then more tears as seven year old realised you’d taken ownership of the friendship bracelet and it was hers after all, not yours.

Oh dear CFM, are you seeing a pattern of behaviour here? Not their behaviour, but yours.

Did you get them together for a group hug? No, you immediately sent them all to their rooms, but not before screeching, “Don’t touch anything as I’ve just tidied in there!” (And they look as close to the perfect bedrooms in the Aspace catalogue as they’re ever going to get).

So, your controlling is out of control and makes nobody happy, least of all yourself. You can scream “MINDFULNESS, MINDFULNESS, MUST BE MINDFUL” inside your head as much as you want but it only causes you to panic.

You need to let them trash the house (you could always let them tidy it later), let them mess up their crafts, let them express their own fashion sense (as hideous as it seems to you at times) and let them make a little mess in their rooms without you coming out in a cold sweat.

They’re children. You’re their mother. All they want is for you to relax. Your house is never going to look anything like The White Company catalogue and does it really matter? You’re making everyone miserable, especially yourself.

As only Elsa could say, “Take deep breaths, count to ten and let it go.”

It’ll be a much more fun summer holiday for you all.

Best wishes and good luck,

CFM (Calm Fun Mum – oh alright then, 50% of the time)

As featured in Huffington Post UK 




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  1. July 24, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    It is hard sometimes to remind ourselves that our home being tidy isn’t the #1 priority around the holidays when people are visiting! I have had to meditate & try to calm myself so many times-it never works! And as much as I’d love for my home to look like a catalogue spread-it’s never going to!!!


    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 25, 2017 / 7:22 am

      Think I will need to up my meditating if day 1 was anything to go by. My home was wrecked and very very far from catalogue spread looking! Thx for reading xx

  2. July 25, 2017 / 4:58 am

    Oh my god you crack me up..! “It’s not me that’ll have to walk in late is it?”
    Try combining a control freak with homeschooling her kids… Poor things. Every single craft activity might as well have “By Liz” written on it. Terrified that they’ll screw it up with their messy out of the lines colouring! xx

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 25, 2017 / 7:21 am

      LOLing at ‘By Liz’! That’s brilliant. I can’t bear to watch them go way over the lines with the colouring, that’s definitely time to step in! I think you’re so amazing homeschooling btw, must be an immense task but I’m sure, worth it. Thx for reading lovely xx

  3. RaisieBay
    July 25, 2017 / 1:39 pm

    I’m loving the calm fun mum, I think that describes me much better…my kids are in their pjs until lunch time, screen time is limited but craft time isn’t and neither is making a mess. I could dream of a magazine spread home but the truth is why bother… I’ve a plan…just six more years and I can have a lovely home, I’ve even set up a savings plan to buy all new stuff. We’ll see how that goes (At the moment, a cruise is looking more likely)

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 26, 2017 / 3:30 pm

      I absolutely love your plan! Genius. I am often thinking that when they’ve all left home we can start again and make the house nice! Though the cruise may be the reality, if I ever manage to save anything for it. Thx for reading x

  4. July 25, 2017 / 4:50 pm

    My house is always a tornado of toys, crafts and food. It’s why I hired a full time cleaner haha! They can make as much mess as they want now, I couldn’t care less. Well, as long as they don’t mix the play dough colours, it makes me twitchy even thinking about it!! #PostsFromTheHeart

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 26, 2017 / 3:28 pm

      Aha, the playdough colours becoming a big mess of congealed grey-brown colour – a travesty! Love that you embrace the tornado, as it should be. I am trying my best. Thx for reading x

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 26, 2017 / 3:32 pm

      Thx for reading and commenting. I’m jumping from Calm Fun Mum to Control Freak Mum in a heartbeat these holidays, the kids are confused! xx

  5. aliduke79hotmailcom
    July 26, 2017 / 11:49 am

    This is great! I think this describes many of us at the beginning of the holidays. Booey has asked for the craft box out everyday this week, so far I have managed to put her off lol.

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 26, 2017 / 3:27 pm

      Am impressed that you’ve managed to resist the craft box requests – I had to succumb to slime making yesterday. You can imagine the chaos and mess, but I managed to hold myself back and embrace it! Thx for reading x

  6. July 26, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    lmao and only 5 weeks and… a few days to go!!! haha, I jest. you’ll cope! you just might be grey by the end of it.

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 26, 2017 / 3:26 pm

      I’m already seeing an increase in the grey, and there was quite a lot to start with! Thx for reading x

  7. thismumslife
    July 26, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    Do you know, in the first half of your post, you perfectly described exactly how I thought motherhood would be…!! I know I’m not the only one who fell into this trap, but I skipped out of my job when I had my first, with all of those visions before me, then was sat in my unwashed pyjamas with my unwashed hair, and my tip of a house a few months later, and was like ‘wtf is this s**t??!’ I think I’ve just about found the balance of just about acceptably tidy home, and damage limitation on craft activities, instead of total control freakery!! Although this is my life every single day-I’m actually looking forward to the days when this really is just limited to the summer holidays!!

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 26, 2017 / 3:25 pm

      I think we all fell into this dreamy image of gorgeous fun filled days with our children adoringly playing by our feet, before we had kids! The the reality kicks in of chaos, and barely being able to remember your name and dishes piling up in the kitchen until your house looks like a student den – this is what happened to me anyway! I’m trying to control my control freakery – the girls made slime yesterday, you can only imagine my horror at the mess! But I managed to let them be, and embrace the slime. Thx for commenting xx

  8. July 26, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    Amen to this! I found once I started home educating two of mine, they were so responsible for their own learning and exploration in a way that impresses me very day. Why do we feel a need to organise and control their lives -we really should respect them more. I find too many children are expected to be perfect at singing, dancing, violin and so on as well as academic prowess and I fear we are storing up mental illness problems in some for the future

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 26, 2017 / 10:00 pm

      I agree that there is so much pressure on kids these days to be perfect at everything that mental health is a big issue. Mine have been feral in the garden today and it’s been brilliant! More of that I say. Thx for reading and commenting x

  9. July 26, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    The madness will become normality just as it is time to return! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 26, 2017 / 9:58 pm

      That is so so true. Happens every year, just as I’m starting to get used to it, it’s time to get those uniforms out again and everyone to be institutionalised once more! Thx for reading x

  10. July 26, 2017 / 8:58 pm

    This has really made me laugh. I’m definitely 50/50 – colouring outside the lines and turning craft activities into blobs drives me a bit mad. However, I don’t interrupt I just think about it in my head ???? #twinklytuesday

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 26, 2017 / 9:57 pm

      I’ve been trying so hard not to interrupt but it’s hard sometimes. Best thing is if I just walk away! Thx for reading and commenting x

  11. July 27, 2017 / 10:32 am

    All good fun in your house then? Barely seen my two, the 14 year old is either out with friends or in her room and the 11 year old is in her room, or with me, but on her newly acquired phone. Roll on September #brillblogposts

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 27, 2017 / 9:45 pm

      Ah so that’s what happens when they turn into teens… you actually don’t see them and I’m sure with that, brings a whole lot of different issues. Thx for reading and sharing x

  12. July 27, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    Calm Fun Mum has so never been me as my youngest teen reminded me only yesterday as I was packing to head off to Center Parcs with a six tweens and teens and a box of Rose! But at least they won’t be messing up my house so it is Control Freak Mum in disguise for the weekend. #BloggerClubUK

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 27, 2017 / 9:46 pm

      Oh my Jo, you are a brave lady but will that one box of rose be enough? I’m not sure. Good luck and let me know how many times Control Freak Mum comes out this weekend! Thx for reading x

  13. July 27, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    Play-Doh turns me into a control freak. The thought of it makes me shudder. Currently putting of an afternoon of play-doh by saying he has to tidy up his morning mess first. That should gain me some time #stayclassymama

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 27, 2017 / 9:43 pm

      The dreaded playdough! Good work on the tidy your room first mantra. Must try that when they next want to make slime which seems to be the thing of the moment! Aaargh, the mess! Thx for reading xx

  14. July 28, 2017 / 9:31 am

    Haha – this is so me. I love a tidy house and perfectly finished craft activity, but have to tell myself that that’s not what my daughter is all about. She’s almost 3 and making a mess is how she learns, I guess. Just need to perfect the tidying up afterwards too… #stayclassymama

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 30, 2017 / 6:49 am

      You’re absolutely right, calm fun mum would not be worrying about the state of the house, as long as the children are having fun. Note to self! Thx for reading x

  15. lyliarose
    July 28, 2017 / 10:12 am

    And so the summer holidays begin… 😛

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 30, 2017 / 6:48 am

      Good luck! Thx for reading x

  16. July 28, 2017 / 11:08 am

    Jeez I feel like my house is like this all the time and we’re not yet affected by the school holidays. I dread to think what next year will be like! #thatfridaylinky

  17. July 28, 2017 / 11:29 am

    And may God have mercy on us all! Good luck hun!

  18. July 28, 2017 / 5:47 pm

    I feel for anyone having six weeks with their little ones. As much as I love Ben, having been used to being at work and having “me” time again, I think I sympathise for those missing out on their usual routine this summer! #globalblogging

  19. July 28, 2017 / 6:03 pm

    Haha! I go crazy over Play Doh. It is always everywhere and gets ground into the carpet so easily! I make them play it on the deck! #fridayfrolics

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 30, 2017 / 6:50 am

      That’s very sensible. I make them play as much as I can out on the patio! Thx for reading x

  20. diynige
    July 29, 2017 / 9:59 am

    Only five weeks to go not long haha! Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week

  21. July 29, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    50% of the time really isn’t that bad! My daughter seems determined to spend the entire summer break snacking, so thats easy #fridayfrolics

  22. July 29, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    I remember my first American 12 week Summer break, I wanted to cringe and hide everyday!!!!! #globalblogging

  23. July 29, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    Week one is DONE! Phew! I’m sure the next five will fly by!

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      July 30, 2017 / 6:51 am

      Ah yes they will, in fact they really will and then I’ll be sorry because I’ll miss them all as they venture back to school. Certainly not missing the school run that’s for sure. Thx for reading. Hope week 1 went well and you were calm fun mum!

  24. July 30, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    I defy any mum not to relate to this. In a mission to make things perfect I cannot help but think we often make things much more stressful both for them and for us x

  25. July 30, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    This is so good….and so me. Thanks for linking up to #globalblogging!

  26. July 30, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    Popping back! Thanks so much for linking up to #TriumphantTales – hope to see you again on Tuesday!

  27. August 1, 2017 / 7:27 am

    It is just so hard to calm down sometimes isn’t it. I already struggle but am working hard to try and let her do things (wrong). Thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofblog

  28. August 1, 2017 / 10:07 pm

    This 1 million percent. Thanks for the reminder and your face in the pic of your son painting is hilare. I just still mourn my house not looking like the White Co catalogue. I had a shoot here the other week, sharing the pics of WHAT IT COULD look like but doesn’t. At least I have that one shoot to behold! x

  29. Accidental Hipster Mum
    August 2, 2017 / 1:45 pm

    Haha I accepted long ago my house will look nothing like any catalogue out there! I hate mess but I’m fighting a losing battle and miraculously, summer holidays has made my house tidier than ever! I can make my daughter put her stuff away once she’s finished with it so she can get something else out. I can leave the 2 year old playing in the lounge with the 8 year old while I mop the kitchen floor. It’s all good in the hood!

    Thank you for liking up with #StayClassyMama, I hope you can join again next time!

  30. August 3, 2017 / 4:44 pm

    Haha! Yes it is hard for us control freaks. I’m fine with the kids doing crafts badly on their own. But not so good with the mess and chaos!

    Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics

  31. April 14, 2018 / 6:23 pm

    CFM – Love that acronym. Must strive towards it. I’m often shouty mum and control freak mum and irritated mum, and the littles pick up on that. And it’s not good. You are right – it is THEIR fun time, and THEIR sense of expression, so we should just take a step (or two) back sometimes and let them be children! Rules will control them when they’re adults anyways. Fab post. Thanks for linking it up with #itsok love

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      April 17, 2018 / 9:15 pm

      Thanks for commenting and hosting your fab new linky lovely. xx

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